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British Olympic Association denies reports of new athlete sponsorship restrictions for Rio Olympics


By Tony Connelly, Sports Marketing Reporter

February 23, 2016 | 3 min read

The British Olympic Association has denied reports that it has implemented new rules which would place greater restraints on how sponsors are allowed to promote partnerships with British athletes at the Rio Olympics.

Jessica Ennis-Hill

Jessica Ennis-Hill

According to reports in the Times the British Olympic Association (BOA) has drawn up new regulations which will ban brands who are not official Olympic or Team GB sponsors from retweeting any messages from their athletes, or posts from Team GB, during the Olympics in Brazil.

The so-called shut-out is intended to protect the game’s official partners and prevent ambush marketing by non-Olympic sponsors that could jeopardise future funding for Team GB.

Following reports of new regulations the BOA has come forth to insist that the rules remain unchanged from previous Games, and that a number of relaxations they applied to the rule for the London 2012 Olympics still apply.

A BOA spokesman told PA Sport: "The guidelines have not changed other than to say we provide more flexibility than ever before. The BOA has already approved many wide-ranging submissions from a number of third-party brands to continue with their campaigns which involve athletes.

"The rule is primarily there for the protection of athletes, the Olympic Games and its official partners from ambush marketing activity whilst ensuring that the BOA - a privately funded body - is able to fund Team GB's participation in the Games.

"We always work with sports, individual athletes and third-party sponsors to ensure they are able to maximise their commercial interests in line with these rules. We have consulted widely, but if individual sports do have any concerns we would be happy to speak with them and assist where we are able to."

Some athletes and sports governing bodies are reportedly unhappy with the restrictions, based on rule 40 of the International Olympic Committee’s charter, given the support they have given to some athletes in helping for their preparation for the Games.

According to the rules brands such as Quorn, who sponsor British distance runner Mo Farah, will have to obtain permission from the BOA if they want to use their Team GB athletes’ image in advertising or on any promotion on social media during the games.


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